Clemson coach Dabo Swinney hasn’t forgotten what happened the last time he went to Auburn – or who turned his plans upside down that day.
“I don’t think anybody really knew how good Cam Newton was,” Swinney said. “By the end of that year, everybody knew.”
Swinney -- a former wide receiver for Auburn's archrival Alabama -- reflected on his previous Auburn visit and looked forward to this week's season-opener in a Sunday teleconference.
The teams' last meeting at Auburn occurred in the 2010 season. On that occasion, future Heisman Trophy winner Newton led a 27-24 comeback victory.
"I remember thinking it is one thing to see Cam Newton on film and another to see him in person," Swinney said. "I knew we didn’t have enough. I think we were up 17 at one point and I knew we didn’t have enough."
Coincidentally, item number one on Auburn's to-do list this week will be containing clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, a leading Heisman candidate. Last month, Alabama coach Nick Saban called Watson "the most significantly dominant player that we played against since Cam Newton in 2010."
Clemson reached the national championship game in January, losing a wild 45-40 contest to Alabama. The Tigers enter this season as a touchdown favorite against an Auburn team that endured a disappointing 7-6 campaign.
Favorites, at least, on paper. In week one, Swinney said, both teams are always entering the unknown.
"They have players we don’t know a lot about and we have players they don’t know a lot about," Swinney said. "You don’t ever really know until you see a team for two or three games."
Although Clemson and Auburn haven't played in four years, Swinney said that with the Auburn program, some things never change.
"Auburn is always Auburn in that you turn on the tape and they have dudes that can run, and (with) size and athleticism," he said. "They have been well-coached for a long time. That part of it never changes."
© 2016, GridironNow.com Staff. All rights reserved.
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